for this game

Missouri bests Tennessee to remain atop SEC East

Nov 23, 2014 - 7:39 AM Knoxville, TN ( - Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes and Marcus Murphy ran for two scores, as No. 19 Missouri picked up a crucial 29-21 win over Tennessee.

Mauk completed just 12-of-25 throws for 230 yards, but his fourth-quarter TD passes to Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser were the difference. Murphy ran 19 times for 82 yards, and Russell Hansbrough added 68 yards on 15 carries.

Missouri (9-2, 6-1 SEC) controls its own destiny in the SEC East. With a win next week against Arkansas, the Tigers will return to the SEC championship game for the second straight season. If Arkansas wins, then Georgia, which finished its SEC regular-season slate last week with a win over Auburn, would represent the division in the title game.

"You talk about a team that battles and a team that makes plays and works off of each other, and we've been doing it more, probably the last 7-to-8 weeks, than we had at the beginning." Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said.

Joshua Dobbs, who had totaled 11 touchdowns over Tennessee's last three games since earning the starting job, went 24-for-37 for 195 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

The Volunteers (5-6) need a win next week at Vanderbilt to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.

"I'm very proud of our kids," Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. "They didn't quit; kept hanging in there, kept scratching, kept clawing, but as we all know winning is very fragile. There were too many mistakes in three series in a row."

Andrew Baggett broke a 13-13 tie when he drilled a 43-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. He then missed from 51 yards on the first play of the fourth, but Missouri made up for the missed kick on its next possession.

On 3rd-and-8 from the Tennessee 27, Mauk lofted a pass to Hunt, who came down with it and broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. The 73-yard touchdown was Missouri's longest offensive play of the season.

The Tigers found the end zone again on their next touch. Following a three- and-out, Mauk led a 6-play, 66-yard drive and hooked up with Sasser on a fade near the left pylon from 13 yards out.

Dobbs hit Jason Croom for a 4-yard TD with 1:52 remaining, then ran in the two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game. Missouri recovered the ensuing onsides kick, however, and ran out the remaining time.

Missouri converted three third downs on the game's first possession. Mauk used his legs to extend the series on 3rd-and-5 from the Tennessee 46, Hansbrough ran for 13 yards later in the series and Murphy made a 15-yard reception down to the 1. On the very next play, Murphy ran off right tackle and shook off an arm tackle before scooting into the end zone for an early touchdown.

Aaron Medley was pure with a 38-yard field goal to put the Volunteers on the board at 3:41 of the first. They failed to pick up a first down on the series but still converted solid field position into points. Christian Brinser punted out of his own end zone and Jacob Carter returned it 14 yards to the Missouri 29, setting up Medley's kick.

Tennessee reached into its bag of tricks to take the lead early in the second quarter. The Vols lined up in field goal formation from the 31. Holder Patrick Ashford received the snap, then quickly stood up and fired a dart to Alex Ellis, who caught it in stride for a touchdown.

Missouri responded with another Murphy TD run a few minutes later, and Medley's 39-yard field goal made it 13-13 at halftime.

Game Notes

Missouri improved to 5-0 away from home this season ... Pig Howard led Tennessee with eight catches for 90 yards ... Markus Golden had two of Missouri's six sacks ... Missouri outgained Tennessee 180-53 on the ground and 410-279 overall.